Film Review: Paycheck
Another Philip K Dick hits the big screens...
"The future is a past he was paid to forget."
So runs the tag line for 'Paycheck', the new Sci-Fi thriller from the Fellini of
action flics, John Woo. If you are wondering what that particular aphorism is
supposed to mean, you should also consider how many Philip K. Dick manuscripts
they intend turning into movies (he's rapidly becoming the John Grisham of
science fiction writers, God rest him).
'Paycheck ' concerns itself with Michael Jennings (Ben Affleck) an engineer who's so handy with a computer that top corporations are willing to pay him too much money for top secret assignments.
In return for pop diva- like paychecks, Michael's memory of his high-tech
projects are wiped out, ensuring no secrets are passed onto rival corporations.
The ultimate paycheck soon comes the way of the handsome geek in the form of a 3 year project worth millions of dollars and even more stock options.
He takes the gig of course but, thanks to the appliance of science, Michael's money as well as his memory then goes missing. Doh!
To help him pick up his enormous paycheck and outrun the FBI - who are on his case because of his shady work partners - Michael turns to two Hollywood stereotypes for help, the love interest (Uma Thurman) and the unattractive but amusing buddy (Paul Giamatti).
For any science fiction and Philip K. Dick fan we are on very familiar ground here. The themes of mind control, memory loss and foretelling the future have all been dealt it before in movies like 'BladeRunner', 'Total Recall' and 'Minority Report'.
'Paycheck' brings nothing new to the party, lacking the originality and vision of previous P.K.D adaptations.
Instead the film feels like a standard Tinsletown thriller, entertaining enough in a roustabout sort of way, but rather predictable and formulaic in the process.